Tag Archives: Caucus

JeffCo GOP Caucus Report

10 Apr

Republicans across Missouri gathered Saturday for county caucuses, the first step in choosing delegates for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Jefferson County Republicans met at Windsor High School.


The caucuses take on extra importance this year, even though Missouri had a primary, because of the possibility of an open convention if Donald Trump does not get the necessary delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. If that happens, delegates are then free on later ballots to vote for who they like, so Trump and Ted Cruz are jockeying to get their supporters selected as delegates. These county caucuses are the first step in choosing Missouri’s 52 delegates to the national convention, 37 of which Trump won via the primary vote.

In the primary, Trump won JeffCo with 49% of the vote to Cruz’s 38%.

The 2012 JeffCo GOP caucus was surrounded by controversy between the establishment and Ron Paul supporters. This was in the back of many people’s mind coming in to today (especially those who brought snacks – the 2012 caucus lasted nine hours).

How it Went Down

The caucus, which was scheduled to start at 10, did not get underway until 10:45 due to delays in getting the final number of attendees tabulated. Part of this was due to having to sign in those who arrived close to 10:00 and part was apparently due to issues with the voter data sent from the county clerk’s office. More on this later. It was declared that 162 people were registered, but that two had already left. But when the district numbers were added, they only came to 157. The body agreed to go with that number.

Things were a bit more complicated in JeffCo due to the fact that we are split up between three Congressional districts – the 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. After the county caucuses come the congressional district and state conventions; each of which get to choose some national delegates. So at the JeffCo caucus we had to select 6 slates, one for each district to both conventions. But in reality each district selected the same slate twice to send forward.

County councilman Bob Boyer was selected as caucus chairman, as he was in 2012, then it was on to the delegate selection. Attendees were divided up into three seating areas, one for each Congressional district. In each district, two slates were proposed: a “Make America Great Again” pro-Trump slate stocked with local elected officials, county GOP committee members, and activists, and a second slate, which became the “Make America Really Great Again” slate, made up of pro-Trump relative outsiders (with a couple of exceptions).

In the 2nd district, which was allotted 12 delegates by the state party, the outsider slate submission (a printed sheet containing names and addresses) was disqualified before the vote because it contained a duplicate name. Therefore, the establishment slate, which included five current/former/future Arnold city council members, Bob Boyer, and Ken Horton (current treasurer candidate and former Tea Party leader), had no opposition and was selected.

In the 3rd district (34 delegates), both slates were disqualified, the outsider one for having another duplicate name and the establishment one for having the aforementioned Ken Horton on it (at an old address – he is no longer in the 3rd district). Since this left no slates to be considered, both sides got to fix and resubmit their lists. Dave Day, speaking for the outsider slate, spoke to the crowd about how his list was tried and true Trump supporters, not establishment members. Derrick Good, speaking for the establishment slate, defended his slate as the people who work for the party to get candidates elected. He said he was tired of the negativity towards the establishment, and proclaimed his own support for Trump from day one, including an unsuccessful attempt to win a position as Trump’s state director. His slate included three state representatives, Senator Paul Wieland, and county executive Ken Waller (these individuals, some of whom have endorsed Cruz, were not present). A vote was held, and the outsider slate won by one vote.

Almost immediately, a question arose, and much conversation was taking place around the head table. From what I was able to gather, a caucus attendee was seated with the wrong district, thanks to some or other confusion, in part related to data from the county clerk. Discussion took place on what to do with this newfound information, leading outsiders to think “here we go again, they are trying to steal our victory.” In the end, we moved on, but it sounds like this slate could possibly be challenged in an appeal to the state party. It seems to me that the mistake, found at a convenient time, was noticed too late and the slate selection should stand.


Photo via Mark Paul

In the 8th district (18 delegates), the establishment slate won by a wide margin. So in the end, two establishment slates won, but the outsider slate that won has more delegates than the other two combined (because most of JeffCo is in the 3rd district).

The above is what I saw and heard at the caucus. If I made any errors, please let me know.

Platform Considerations

I did not stay for all of the proposed amendments to the draft state GOP platform, but here were some that I heard, along with the vote results. Successful amendments get passed on with the selected delegates to the next conventions.

  • Make Missouri’s primaries closed (so only registered Democrats/Republicans can vote in them). Since Missouri voters don’t declare a party when registering, this would require some major changes. This would stop candidates like Trump, who draws many independent and Democratic voters. This would give the party more control over who wins the primary, but it would keep out the types of crossover voters that help the party win general elections. This amendment passed by a large margin.
  • Use paper ballots in elections. This is based on fears of hacking and manipulation of voting machines, which also have no paper backup. This passed unanimously.
  • An amendment to remove right to work from the state platform was proposed by Arnold councilman Jason Fulbright. JeffCo is home to many pro-union GOP elected officials. This vote ended in a tie, which meant that it failed.
  • Disallow individuals found by the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) to have an ethics violation (mostly these are for campaign rule violations) from being GOP delegates. This, I believe, was aimed at county GOP central committee members who were found to have violated campaign finance rules in 2012. The argument against this was a claim that it was easy to get an MEC violation, for things like not putting “paid for by” information on campaign signs. This amendment failed by a large margin.

What was the Motivation for Caucus Shenanigans?

9 Apr

I wrote here and here about the shenanigans at the Jefferson County GOP caucus. At the caucus, the pro-Santorum establishment GOP types from the county Republican Central Committee, led by Janet Engelbach, county GOP chairman, and Derrick Good, GOP legislative candidate, played fast and loose with the rules (and with the credential rolls) in order to ensure their delegate slate won the day. The question I have been mulling is, why was it so important to win that these tactics had to be employed? I have some thoughts.

First of all, we know the establishment types were supporting Rick Santorum. It is clear to everyone, and I think it was on March 17, caucus date, that Santorum has no chance of winning the nomination. So why go to the mat for someone who can’t win? Plus, even if you do win, it only means that you have to go to the next level, the Congressional District and State Conventions, to once again fight for your nominee. By the time those caucuses roll around, Santorum’s defeat will be even more obvious. So Santorum loyalty can’t be the reason.

Second, I thought, maybe they really want to be delegates at the next level. In that case, they probably could have gotten themselves added to the Paul/Romney slate, by some sort of negotiation. Why the fierce need to become a delegate, if this theory is correct? To hobnob with fellow establishment types? To maybe score a trip to the national convention?

Third, maybe they just desperately didn’t want Ron Paul to win the day, even though he has no chance to win the nomination. He’s not an establishment type, and some of his libertarian views probably make them uncomfortable.

Fourth, maybe this was all about maintaining control in Jefferson County, continuing to be the big dogs. They wouldn’t want to see Tea Party types, or (shudder) Ron Paul types come out on top and threaten to upend the county order, especially now that the party is becoming predominant in the county after years of Democrat control. Ironically, this may backfire, as the raucous caucus motivated a number of challengers to run for township GOP committee seats in the upcoming primary election. Anger over their caucus chicanery might be their downfall. Had they merely acquiesced to the Paul contingent’s superior numbers and “allowed” them to win the caucus, Paul types probably would have been content to leave the Central Committee as it was. But now we’ll have a battle.

Imagine, though, if the caucus results get thrown out by the State Credentials Committee, which is hearing challenges to the caucus results, and Jefferson County is asked to caucus again. That would be a very interesting event. You can bet the doors to the venue, and the credential rolls, will be watched like a mouse at a cat convention at a potential caucus round two.

Jefferson County GOP Caucus Update

7 Apr

I wrote about the March 17 county caucus here. Much controversy and chaos occurred at the meeting, at which the establishment GOP types in the county Central Committee appeared to corrupt the proceedings in favor of a pro-Santorum slate of delegates. The Paul and Romney campaigns have filed protests with the Missouri GOP. In addition, county resident and caucus attendee Casey Pearcy filed a challenge. The letter he submitted is below, and it summarizes the complaints with the way the caucus was administered quite well.

This video also sums up the main allegations:

Here’s the challenge letter from the Romney/Paul campaigns. It includes a narrative of the events at the caucus. This report also sums up the proceedings. According to the latter report, the State Credentials Committee will hear the Jefferson County challenge on April 12. The Congressional District Conventions are scheduled for April 21 and the State Convention will be June 1-2.

What Happened at the Jefferson County Caucus?

26 Mar

The short version? After 9 1/2 hours (!): “a slate of 73 delegates was chosen, with their support split among Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.”

The long version, however, involves intraparty conflict, allegations of theft of the roll as well as hijacking of the event. The fallout from the caucus is bitter and ongoing.

In short, from what is out there (other than the Dear Leader, I haven’t seen any other media reports on the JeffCo caucus), the Ron Paul faction (allied with the small Mitt Romney contingent) joined forces to take on the establishment types who were in favor of a “unity” slate of delegates. I’m not sure, but I think the establishment also tried to pull the “bind the delegates to the primary” trick that Rick Santorum types were trying to advance statewide.

In JeffCo, it sounds like the Paul people had a majority of the attendees (see this report). According to the linked account, the Central Committee folks stole the roll, held the meeting “hostage,” and attempted to use the stolen roll to bargain for half the delegates. In the end, the Paul slate was removed because some paperwork was not filled out right (the delegates’ addresses were not on the proper form, only their names).

The opposing view is that the Paul people unfairly took over the meeting and tried to impose their slate on the meeting (report at this link).

This sounds a bit similar to the well-publicized St. Charles County Caucus, at which, in my view, was another attempt to shut out the Paul voters. Being the best-organized is not unethical; in a caucus, the majority rules, especially if they have command of Robert’s Rules of Order. It looks to me like there was some desperation across Missouri to keep Ron Paul from getting delegates. I’m not in the Paul camp, but this is just wrong, and in the end, destructive.

On the lighter side, for some breathless, poorly written local commentary on this and other local political happenings, see this Facebook page for “Politigal Republic.”

UPDATE: The Romney and Paul camps are officially asking that the Jefferson County caucus results be thrown out due to “serious and prejudicial misconduct.”  Party chair Janet Engelbach said the missing rolls mentioned above disappeared because they were “taken by a volunteer, who had to leave early and inadvertently packed the documents up with her computer.”

UPDATE: The secretary for the caucus has refused to sign off on the delegate selection.

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